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Green Magpie

Latest posts by Green Magpie

Sloe Berry

Posted: 08/10/2012 at 13:41

Yes, I agree it would be a bit of a waste of space on an allotment, as it can become a straggly, messy bush. And I've noticed that there always seems to be a lot more blackthorn blossom than eventual sloe fruits, suggesting that many of the bushes don't get as far as bearing fruit some years.

Some allotment sites don't permit the planting of trees, presumably because they might cast shade on other plots, and possibly create problems with root disturbance to paths, beds, etc.

If you do manage to take a successful cutting, perhaps there's an area of hedge on the edge of the allotment site where you could plant it?

Ruuner Bean roots- a problem?

Posted: 08/10/2012 at 13:32

A bit of compost won't do any harm, as it refreshes the soil and improves its texture, helping it to retain water (that's a bit of a joke after this summer, isn't it!). The nitrogen from the beans will be good for the brassicas but they do need other nutrients as well.

Chilli plants - keep or chuck and start again next year?

Posted: 08/10/2012 at 09:44

I grew two of my chili plants in a big pot, and have now brought this into the kitchen. The rest of the plants are still in the soil and I'll pick the chilis soon and freeeze them. The pot in the kitchen looks quite attractive, as all the chilis are now orange. I'm hoping they'll turn red but I don't know if they will. Now that I have removed a snail that was chomping some of the chilis (they can't be very hot, can they?), I think the plant should be happy here for some weeks or months.

Did you know that chilis have a hot end and a cool end? The tip is not nearly as hot as the stem end. So when you try a chili, perhaps by tentatively nibbling the tip, you may be quite misled about the heat it contains.

moving blackcurrant bush

Posted: 14/09/2012 at 08:52

I had a decent crop of blackcurrants but fewer than last year. Loads of rasps and gooseberries (this is in Devon where we get more rain and less heat than further east), but no quinces and very few crab apples or figs.

moving blackcurrant bush

Posted: 12/09/2012 at 08:29

Actually, no one has questioned why you want to improve the bed in the first place. Is the blackcurrant doing well? Because if it is, there's probably no need to "improve" its immediate surroundings, and if it's not, it might be as well to replace it anyway, as it may be the bush rather than the soil that's failing.

If the bush is in good heart, you could still improve other parts of the bed in the way you suggest, and just give the blackcurrant a good mulch of compost instead of the green manure.

moving blackcurrant bush

Posted: 11/09/2012 at 16:26

Or you could take cuttings and  then try moving the bush - then if it dies, at least you'll have the cuttings to replace it.

Fig Tree

Posted: 07/09/2012 at 09:34

We have a Brown Turkey on a south-west facing fence, in Devon. It's 6 or 7 years old and is now HUGE, At first I used to wrap the shoots in fleece in winter to protect them from the frosts, but as the plant grew this became impossible. The only frost damage (in several recent hard winters) has been to the topmost shoots that protrude above the fence, and I just trimmed them down in the Spring. We've had good numbers of figs for several years - except this year, and that, I'm sure, is to do with the cool summer rather than the cold winter.

Just allow it plenty of space and be prepared to reinforce your fence in a few years, otherwise the weight of the fig tree may bring it down!


Posted: 06/09/2012 at 18:08

You'd get quicker results by digging up some of the corms of the parent plants and spacing them out a bit. They spread quite quickly.


Posted: 05/09/2012 at 18:48

I think Damson's concern is about the compost and what will happen if it is used on ground where potatoes or tomatoes are to grow.

I think it's nearly impossible to ensure that all your compost is free from anything that could have a trace of blight. I get rid of most of my blighted plants in the Council green waste bin, but there's always the odd late mini-potato, or blighted scraps of stuff that end up in my kitchen bin (which goes into the compost heap). I think I'd just forget about it and hope for the best.

As Italophile says, the infection is mainly wind-borne and will reach your plants when conditions are right no matter what you do.

what can you start now

Posted: 03/09/2012 at 17:15

I have just sown some seeds of Land Cress, Swiss Chard and carrots. I have never sown carrots so late before, so it's a bit of an experiment. The others should come up OK and last through the winter,

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